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tv   Crossfire  CNN  May 28, 2014 3:30pm-4:01pm PDT

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who counted among her friends, martin luther king jr., bill clinton, who asked her to read a poem for his first inauguration. president obama awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 20 1 2011, the highest civilian honor. she died this morning at her home in north carolina. maya angelou was 86 years old. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." let's step into the "crossfire" with stephanie cutter and newt gingrich. president obama described his pragmatic vision for overseas. not that it will satisfy all its critics. >> actually it was a good explanation of a policy that's very unrealistic. the debate starts right now. tonight on "crossfire," president obama fires back at his foreign policy critics. >> just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. >> is america safer with this commander in chief?
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on the left, stephanie cutter. on the right, newt gingrich. in the "crossfire," ted strickland, a former governor of ohio. and dr. ben carson, the author of one nation. in a dangerous world, is the president realistic or reckless? tonight on "crossfire." welcome to "crossfire." i'm stephanie cutter on the left. >> i'm newt gingrich on the right. in the crossfire tonight, a former governor and someone mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate. today, president obama could have started an important national dialogue about america's role in a dangerous world. instead, he made claims that are either absolutely delusional or factually incorrect. here's just one of them. >> since world war ii, some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint, but from our willingness to rush into
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military adventures without thinking through the consequences. without building international support and legitimacy for our action. >> his assertion is absurd. it's a repudiation of among others presidents trumans, eisenhower, kennedy, reagan, and george h.w. bush. you can't start an honest dialogue about the implications of u.s. power in the world by making factually dishonest statements. stephanie? >> well, you know who you left out there? george w. bush who misled the nation into war in iraq, took his eye off the ball in afghanistan, mismanaged that war. we're now spending more than $2 trillion. >> the one hillary clinton voted for. >> the war we were misled into based on fault to evidence on wmd. but we can do some revisionist history there. i think this is a well-known fact. in the "crossfire," ted
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strickland and dr. ben carson, retired neurosurgeon and author of "one nation: what we can all do to save america's future." dr. carson, welcome. i want to pose the first question to you. >> okay. >> you heard newt criticize the president, and, you know, there is a lot of reactionary reflexive criticism that's not based on facts. i just want to point out a couple of things about the president's record on foreign policy. he has successfully handled many international crises. take a look. he ended the war in iraq, ended the war in afghanistan. he's brought iran to the table on nuclear negotiations. he's rid syria of chemical weapons. prevented us from getting into a bogged down war there. and he's isolated russia through the ukrainian, crimea crisis. do you believe any of those decisions have hurt the american people? those bad decisions? >> well, i guess based on the litany of accomplishments that you just mentioned, i guess we would really be looked at very
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respectfully by all nations right now. and we should have risen to quite a prominent position in the world in terms of our leadership. and i guess that would really be the criteria to decide how they'll interpret all of those things. >> and do you believe that those were good things for this country? that he should be given credit for? i mean, you never hear republicans, for instance, cite any of those accomplishments, but these are tough decision he made and many of these decisions he built coalitions globally to accomplish them. >> well, what i would say is i don't like to sit around and criticize people. what i prefer to do is talk about what should be done. you know, we had a situation in 2009 where the iranian people were revolting against the government. crying out for help. we lifted not a single finger to help them. that would have changed the entire landscape there. we had a situation in 2008 where putin invaded georgia.
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for those who are not sophisticated, we're talking about georgia over there. not georgia over here. and then remain there. that should have given us some significant insight into his intentions. we should have then decided we needed to have strong relationships with all the former soviet portions and, you know, try to get them into nato, try to get them into situations where there would be less likelihood of a ukraine-type situation occurring. >> sounds to me like he's criticizing the policies of george w. bush, not barack obama. george bush was the president when putin went into georgia. and very little was done about that. and so i believe stephanie's right. i'm sure newt will disagree with me, but i believe stephanie's right that this president has taken ainherited, two wars, and as stephanie said,
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one of the wars started as a result of false information and i believe purposeful deceit on the part of members of the administration. and he's bringing those wars to a close. and that's good. >> i understand this is a litany on the left. so you believe colin powell set out to mislead the american people? >> i'm disappointed that colin powell went to the united nations and said what he said because i believe -- i was a member of congress then, newt, and i sat in a lot of the briefings with cheney and rumsfeld and thompson and all those and never, never did they tell me or us, as a congress, that they had proof that saddam hussein was in any way involved in the attack on our country. >> so let me ask you this. we just saw a minute ago current news about what is potentially an american suicide bomber in syria. one of the places where i think obama's clearly failed to meet the goals he stated a year ago.
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you can go from nigeria to north korea, from ukraine to the south china sea. tell me where you see america being strong in that entire zone. >> well, it tdepends how you define strength, newt. in terms of our country's values, in terms of our country's commitment to justice and freedom, we're a very strong country and, you know, the good doctor here compared our country to nazi germany and that's the kind of rhetoric that is divisive and really tears our country apart at a time when it comes to foreign policy, we ought to be one nation and we ought to be pulling together. >> do you want to explain that? >> yeah, let me address that, because what i said is that most of the people in nazi germany did not believe in what hitler was doing. but did they speak up? did they say anything? and making the analogy that that could happen anywhere where people don't speak up, particularly when they this
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agree with what's going on, number one -- >> doctor, you speak up -- >> number two, you said what i had said previously, all of those things occurred under george bush. the uprising in iran occurred in 2009. the last time i checked, barack obama was president in 2009. and the invasion of georgia occurred during the transitional period. so, how can you say that those are george bush's fault? >> it actually didn't. but let me just clarify one thing. >> during the political season when we were in the process -- >> right, we had a current president at that time, it was george busw. bush. let me clarify, are you saying america is like nazi germany? i'm confused by that comment. >> no, what i'm saying, to me it doesn't sound like a conflict statement at all. i said the people in nazi, germany, did not -- most most o believe in what hitler was doing. but instead of protesting, instead of registering their
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displeasure, they simply decided to go along to get along. that is a very dangerous thing to do. >> and is it happening -- >> and i was using that as an example of how dangerous that can be and i'm making a point to the american people that if, in fact, you feel differently about what's going on, you should not be shut up. you need to talk about -- >> doctor, no one is being shut up in america. you're on fox news, you write books. newt talks, stephanie talks, i talk. >> what is that? >> i don't engage in political correctness. maybe you do. but, doctor, these are your quotes. you said, we live in a gestapo age, and we're -- this is a quote -- we're very much like nazi germany and then you write a book about america the beautiful. that seems to be such a contradiction. >> did you read the book? >> i have not read the book, no. >> i rest my case. >> why? >> you don't even know what the book is about. >> the fact that i haven't read your book? >> because you're making these
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claims and using the fact i write a book to back up your claims and you haven't even read the book. >> i'm using the title of your book, "america the beautiful" and that's a beautiful phrase. >> did you ever hear the phrase that you can't judge a book by its cover? you know why people say that? maybe because you need to read the book. >> maybe you can't judge a book by the title. i don't know. >> so, dr. carson, i do have another question for you about where we stand in the republican party, i know that you're not a republican, but i wanted you to comment on that. we're going to come back to that. when we come back, i'm going to put dr. carson on the spot about his own future and the country's future. first, today's "crossfire" quiz. how many cadets graduated from west point today? just over 500? just over 1,000? or just over 3,000? we'll have the answer when we get back.
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today. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? welcome back. here's the answer to our "crossfire" quiz. 1, 064 cadets graduated from west point today. that's where president obama delivered the commencement address, responding to the criticism coming from people who believe they should be commander in chief. the president made his case for a responsible course in foreign policy. >> it is absolutely true that in the 21st century, american isolationism is not an option. but to say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution. >> the president is rejecting the extremes and the republican
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party. from the isolationism of rand paul to the saber rattling of among others marco rubio. what people need to ask these would-be commanders in chief is what happens when a candidate's politics are confronted by real life or death situations? are we really going to refeet fr retreat from the world? no. can we use the military to solve every situation? of course not. these are unrealistic and irresponsible extremes that are the normal of presidential politics. in the "crossfire "" tonight, t strict akland and dr. ben carso. i want to come back to you. you're clearly considering running for president. i'm not going to force you to give me an answer. >> i appreciate that. >> tonight. you can continue considering it. i want to ask you since we're talking about the commander in chief, do you feel like you're qualified to be the commander in chief? >> let me put it this way. i'm not sure that anybody is qualified to be the commander in chief by themselves. i think you have to surround
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yourself with the appropriate types of people. you know, just demonstrated by all the things that, you know, the current president said he would do when he was running that turned out to be quite different. because of all a sudden you're given quite a lot of information that you didn't have before. a lot of intelligence. those are important. i think you have to have various principals. for instance, you really have to have the back of our troops. one of the reasons i don't think something what happened in benghazi should be a partisan issue is because what we did basically is send a message that if our troops get into a difficult situation, we don't have their back. and we also said that we are willing to put our people in harm's way without the ability to protect them. >> so i didn't hear an answer from you about whether or not you are qualified to be commander in chief. >> yes, you said.
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>> you said nobody is qualified. >> i said no one in and of themselves. you need to have a cadre of the right kinds of people. >> you believe you can do that? >> i'm not saying that i'm even running for president, so i'm not sure that i really want to go there, quite frankly. >> let me ask you something which is an extension of the commander in chief's responsibility. and that is the whole issue of taking care of veterans. and the problem we've seen today, the inspector general came back and reported that in phoenix, alone, there were some 1,700 veterans who had lost their -- the records had been taken out, which i believe is a criminal defense, by the way, and were deliberately deleted. now today you had three democratic senators, mark udall of colorado, john walsh of montana, and kay hagan of north carolina, all in very tough races. all came out today for shinseki to step down. how long do you think the president should protect and cling to shinseki as marginal democrats find themselves in
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more and more trouble over this issue? >> yeah. newt, it's tragic. what's happened. what you described. unacceptable. people should be punished and perhaps some people should be jailed. i don't know. depending on what the offense was and what can be proven. i was on the veterans affairs committee when i was in the house. this is a longstanding problem. in terms of general shinseki, we need to treat him with great respect. this is a disabled vietnam veteran. i'm sure he's doing what he thinks is right and the best he can. if he is unable to correct this situation, he needs to go, but this is a problem that is -- it's not centered on one person. >> no, but we've had at least 37 different places around the country now. we have a map in productions that literally has 37 places now and don't we owe respect also to the 1,700 veterans who were illegally dropped from the list? >>
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>> and every person that is on a waiting list right now should be triaged and should be get waiting care. >> why would you do after failure to do it for five years that shinseki is capable of doing this. >> well, if he was aware of what was going on, he absolutely should go. >> which is what we're trying the get to the bottom of. >> if he was aware. if he was not aware he should go because he spent five years in ignorance. >> if he knew people were lying about this. >> i'm sorry? >> i can't believe you said t t that. >> is that the first thing you can't believe i said? >> well, it's just so shocking. >> what did you say? >> she said apparently people were lying. but shinseki wasn't smart enough to know those were lies. >> but we need to get to the bottom of that. if democrats want to stand up and call for his resignation, that is their absolute right. i think the president either keep shinseki in place or
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calling for his resignation has no impact on the senate races. but since we are on a domestic topic, i do want to ask the good doctor a question. this is a question that you have some expertise in, given your experience as a neurosurgeon. you've spent your lifetime worrying about children's health. >> yes. >> and republicans are what i believe to be playing politics with nutrition standards for school lunches. here is what the first lady had to say about this. >> it's unacceptable to me not just as first lady, but as a mother. parents have a right to expect that their kids will get decent food in our schools. >> so should some kids be given healthier lunches while other kids have to -- are given junk food and file down the spiral of childhood obesity? is that the kind of country we
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want, where kids are treated unequally like that? >> nutrition is very important. i have frequently said if everybody ate three balanced meals a day, drank water, exercised regularly, got a full night's sleep, and didn't put harmful stuff in their bodies, all of news medicine would be out of business. people are not going to do that. the question is do we mandate or do eeducate? and there are some who say they don't know any better, we got to do it for them. >> or we're talk about kids health. shouldn't we do both? educate kids and parents and -- >> let me ask you this. we know that the human brain continues to develop until your late 20s. so maybe the first lady should be spending her time talk about marijuana, because marijuana has a deleterious effect on the developing brain. >> should just let that go? >> childhood obesity is not nearly as bad as affecting the development. >> you guys have both got to come back. we have a whole new show right here. but stay here.
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we want you at home to weigh in on today's fireback question. do you think america should play a bigger or smaller role in world affairs? tweet bigger or smaller using #crossfire. we'll have the results after the break. we also have the outrage of the day. i am outraged about what the u.s. state department thinks you should be reading. huh, 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. everybody knows that. well, did you know that game show hosts should only host game shows? samantha, do you take kevin as your lawfully wedded husband... or would you rather have a new caaaaaar!!!! say hello to the season's hottest convertible... ohhh....and say goodbye to samantha. [ male announcer ] geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
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welcome back. now it's time for the outrages of the day. for several years, the state department did not recognize
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boko haram as a terrorist group. we're still fighting over what caused benghazi. and now we learn that the same state department tweeted out a link to an article by an extremist muslim who is affiliated with hamas and in 2004 he issued a fatwa calling on muslims to kill u.s. soldiers in iraq. the state department later deleted the tweet and apologized. but it's too little too late. maybe what we really need is to take part of president obama's new $5 billion training program and retrain the people at his own state department. >> instead of an outrage, i have an appreciation. i was at president clinton's 1993 inauguration when maya angelou read a poem, and i quote, here on the pulse of this new day you may have the grace to look up and out and into your sister's eyes. since that day, millions of americans not only looked into maya angelou's eyes, but into her poetry and her writings and found inspiration. her accomplishments are too many to mention here, but her commitment to equality, to education and to breaking down walls by speaking and writing
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the plain old truth made us a better nation and a better people. when i heard she died today at 86, i remembered these words of her, and again, i quote. i learned that people will forget what you said. people will forget what you did. but people will never forget how you made them feel. those, as they say, are words to live by. and for that, i thank you, maya angelou. >> let's check on our fireback results. do you think america should pay a bigger or smaller role in world affairs? right now 26% of you say bigger. 74% say smaller. what do you two think of the results? >> i'm somewhere in the middle. >> okay. >> i say leadership is key. we need to concentrate on leadership. the world needs it. >> okay. well, newt, what did you say? >> i said bigger. >> right. thanks to ted strickland and -- >> what did you say? i said responsible. the debate continues online at, as well as facebook and twitter. from the left, i'm stephanie cutter. >> from the right, i'm newt gingrich.
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join us tomorrow for another addition of "crossfire." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, major breaking news out of malaysia. a huge setback this the search for flight 370. one of the centerpieces of this whole investigation a false lead. plus, inside the mind of a child killer. an "outfront" exclusive investigation. and the first lady gets in a food fight with the gop. republicans aren't holding anything back. let's go "outfront." >> good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, breaking news. it's not the plane. a massive setback in the search 37r malaysia airlines flight